Select Committee on European Union Minutes of Evidence


Supplementary memorandum by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES)

SOCRATES CASE STUDIES

Comenius 1 Projects

  Capenhurst Church of England Primary School, Chester—raising standards:

    —    Encouraging reluctant learners, especially boys, to read.

    —    Theme accessible to, and provided motivation for, all learners irrespective of race, culture, gender, race, age or ability.

    —    Raising standards across the curriculum.

    —    Website offers an inspirational tool for learning.

    —    Raised awareness of the wider world.

  Alwoodley Primary School, Leeds—local community:

    —    An art exhibition including 3D representations of fairy tales and myths toured the schools in and books of local winter legends were exchanged.

    —    Local community involvement—pupils interviewed elderly about local myths and legends.

    —    Case study for collaborative learning video in Leeds.

    —    Motivation because keen to find out about their peers overseas.

  Abbey Hill School Technology College, Stockton-on-Tees—attendance:

    —    Attendance increased.

    —    Catalogue of teaching resources in each school.

    —    Supportive intra and inter-school network.

    —    Interest in language learning among staff and students.

  The Radclyffe School, Oldham—racial tensions:

    —    ICT skills: data processing, creating digital video clips, editing material for use on the project and school websites.

    —    Improved self-awareness and racial tolerance in young people involved.

    —    INSET for team building, project evaluation, problem-solving, developing ICT skills and foreign language skills for specialists and non-specialists alike.

    —    Increased parental involvement in children's education prompted by videoconferences.

  Cardonald College, Glasgow—business involvement:

    —    Students produced design proposals, presentations and exhibitions in preparation for a fashion design competition culminating in a virtual fashion show judged by commercial designers.

    —    Positive press exposure.

    —    Greater involvement of Scottish companies and organisations in college's work.

    —    Staff and students enjoyed learning basic Dutch, Slovak and Finnish and have studied successfully alongside students from all partner countries.

    —    Two students have gone on to be shortlisted for the Glasgow Design Medal.

  Newham College of Further Education, London—new skills, peer motivation:

    —    UK and Italian students collaborated on the production of videos, CDroms, design illustrations, garments and a virtual fashion parade using a variety of ICT tools such as photoshop and other design packages.

    —    Inspired by the high standard of work of Italian peers.

    —    Higher motivation to learn, develop further skills and to widen their contacts through additional work placements and vacations in Italy.

  Crook Primary School, Cleveland—transformation in teacher retention:

    —    Europe Week involving arts, technology, music, PE and literacy projects.

    —    Highest teacher retention in the county, having been the lowest.

    —    Excellent staff development.

    —    Sense of purpose and an audience to the children.

    —    Children less parochial and more welcoming to visitors.

Grundtvig 2

  HM Prison Maghaberry, Northern Ireland—MABEL (Multidisciplinary approach to adult basic education and learning):

    —    Students with basic skills deficiencies in prison—OPEN DOORS.

    —    Publication of magazine.

  Ridge Danyers College, Stockport—ALIA (Adult Learners in Arts):

    —    Artwork made by the students from accompanied by introductions to highlights of national art history was posted on a web-based platform.

    —    Opened facility for blind and partially sighted learners.

    —    Pathway to more formal learning.

    —    Language, ICT and curating skills.

    —    Staff sharing best practice.

  Hertsmere Worknet, Borehamwood—Learners on Board:

    —    Barriers to learning for the disadvantaged and socially excluded.

    —    Leaner self-esteem, confidence and motivation.

    —    Discovered aptitude for otherwise unnoticed skills.

CASE STUDIES

Comenius 1 Projects

  Capenhurst Church of England Primary School—New Worlds Through Reading.

  Partners in the UK, Spain and Greece examined the pedagogy of reading to explore how different approaches could be used to encourage reluctant learners, particularly boys, to enjoy reading. The theme of discovering "new worlds through" reading has proved to be accessible to and provided motivation for all learners irrespective of race, culture, gender, race, age or ability. The project website offers an inspirational medium of kinaesthetic learning enabling pupils to gain valuable first hand insights into the lives and beliefs of others and has raised awareness of the wider world.

  "The stimuli this project offers are fundamental in raising standards in numerous areas of the curriculum from reading, writing, speaking and listening to geography, history and ICT."

  Alwoodley Primary School—Using art as a common language: Discovering Ourselves—Young Citizens of Europe in Contact

  An art exhibition including 3D representations of fairy tales and myths toured the schools in Romania, Sweden, Germany and Latvia and books of local winter legends were exchanged. The pupils were eager to find out more about life in the partner countries and as a result of their increased motivation their literacy and ICT skills were enhanced. Pupils engaged with the local community by interviewing elderly people about local myths and stories. The experiences gained in this project have been used to illustrate a video about collaborative learning in Leeds.

  Abbey Hill School Technology College—Our Schools in Our Communities

  Students from Bulgaria, Italy, Romania and Spain created displays, books and CDs about their partner countries. A catalogue of resources has been set up in each school so that teachers can share materials. School attendance has increased, a supportive intra and inter-school network has been developed and staff and students have demonstrated renewed interest in language learning.

  "The students developed a focus and pride in their work. It brought the world closer to them."

  The Radclyffe School, Oldham—Interesteen!

  Students in the UK, Romania, Spain and Poland have developed valuable ICT skills to share their experiences including: data processing, creating digital video clips, editing material for use on the project and school websites, and the use of email. Videoconferences between teachers and parents in each country have stimulated parent's involvement in school life and the education of their children. The project has provided effective staff INSET for team building, project evaluation, problem-solving, developing ICT skills and foreign language skills for specialists and non-specialists alike.

  "Oldham has a bad press nationally about the racial tensions and clashes between its different ethnic minorities and we feel that our project has contributed to developing self-awareness and tolerance in the young people we teach."

  Cardonald College, Glasgow—Club Fashion

  Students produced design proposals, presentations and exhibitions in preparation for a fashion design competition culminating in a virtual fashion show judged by commercial designers. The college has benefited from positive press exposure and the greater involvement of Scottish companies and organisations in it's work. Staff and students enjoyed learning basic Dutch, Slovak and Finnish and have studied successfully alongside students from all partner countries. Drawing on their experiences as Club Fashion participants, two students have gone on to be shortlisted for the Glasgow Design Medal.

  "A wonderful experience that has encouraged me to start up my own business."

  "This experience has changed my approach to teaching."

  Newham College of Further Education, London—Costume Inspired by Traditional Music & Cultural Diversity

  UK and Italian students collaborated on the production of videos, CDroms, design illustrations, garments and a virtual fashion parade using a variety of ICT tools such as photoshop and other design packages. Students have been inspired by the high standard of work produced by their partner college and have much higher motivation to learn, develop further skills and to widen their contacts through additional work placements and vacations in Italy. The fortnight exchanges have provided a focus for collaborative working throughout the year and staff and students have reaped the benefits of exposure to different materials, methodologies and cultures.

  Crook Primary School—Europe United

  Pupils from Norway, Germany, Hungary, Finland and the UK exchanged work and participated in Europe Week involving arts, technology, music, PE and literacy projects. The Comenius activities gave a sense of purpose and an audience to the children and they became less parochial and more welcoming to visitors. Involvement in the project was deemed to be an excellent staff development tool that encouraged teachers to feel privileged and valued. The school has reported a transformation in the motivation of teachers resulting in the highest teacher retention in the county.

GRUNDTVIG 2

  HM Prison Maghaberry, Northern Ireland—MABEL (Multidisciplinary approach to adult basic education and learning)

  Students, particularly those with basic skills deficiencies, were encouraged to participate in the writing and production of a magazine Open Doors in collaboration with students in prisons in Ireland, Norway, Bulgaria and Poland.

  "We had contributions from students who have autistic problems and suffer from major problems in literacy and numeracy."

  "The acquisition of basic skills, which is at the core of this project, complements and supports the UK government's key educational priority of developing and improving adult basic literacy and numeracy."

  Ridge Danyers College, Stockport—ALIA (Adult Learners in Arts)

  Artwork made by the students from Greece, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Spain accompanied by introductions to highlights of national art history was posted on a web-based platform. Participants developed language, ICT and curating skills and deepened their knowledge of the cultural history of their own and partner countries. Staff have shared good practice in introducing learners from informal arts education to formal education.

  "As a direct result of the project, the College intends to open a facility for blind and partially sighted learners. New software has been introduced and a training manual has been produced for mainstream trainers to better equip them with the skills needed to work with blind and partially sighted learners."

  Hertsmere Worknet, Borehamwood—Learners on Board—Partners in Germany and Sweden

  The project examines the barriers to learning which disadvantaged and socially excluded groups face in Germany, Sweden and the UK. The partners explored innovative methods of engaging these learners, ensuring that learner participation and feedback was central to the process.

  "It cannot be stressed enough how much the project has increased learner's motivation and enthusiasm to learn and encouraged their progression to further learning. Learners' confidence has been boosted and self-esteem raised and some learners have shown an aptitude for skills that would otherwise have gone unnoticed."

ERASMUS 2 STUDENT MOBILITY

  Student Mobility

  Student Mobility 2003-04—UK Erasmus Prize 2004 finalists

Beatrix Futák Campbell

  University of Edinburgh, studying Modern European Languages

  Host Institution—Freie University Berlin, Germany

  Beatrix travelled to Berlin to study at both the Freie University on the west side of the city and at the Humboldt University in former East Berlin. She joined the Transatlantic Student Forum, set up to encourage dialogue between students from Europe and the United States—having studied in the US and the UK, and having been born in Hungary, Beatrix had plenty to contribute. Internships at the Berlin Office of the think-tank, the German Marshall Fund, and the UN Office in Vienna rounded off her Erasmus study period in Germany.

Catherine Duce

  University of Newcastle upon Tyne, studying Geography

  Host Institution—Universidad de Salamanca, Spain

  Having spent eight months in Ecuador, Catherine realised that an Erasmus placement in Salamanca would offer her the opportunity to improve her language skills in an academic context. It also gave her a refreshing perspective on her degree subject—Geography. To immerse herself in the Spanish way of life, she joined an orchestra and volunteered at a local charity which offered support for immigrants. She asks, "Why study in the UK when you can both develop language skills and benefit from the experience of other European geographers on an Erasmus exchange?" Catherine plans to use the contacts and language skills from her Erasmus trip to Salamanca to do doctoral research in Latin America.

CHRISTOPHER GRINBERGS

  University of Warwick, studying French

  Host Institution—Université Stendhal, Grenoble 3, France

  Christopher studied with Erasmus at the Université Stendhal in Grenoble, where he had the opportunity to explore the French interpretation of works by Zola and Godard in his French Literature and Cinema course. He put the theory of his journalism and media course into practice by creating a student radio show, interviewing, among others, the National President of "Paysage de France". He hopes that this will be of benefit to his future career and plans to take an MA in Broadcast Journalism next year. Christopher's Erasmus experience had an interesting angle—his twin brother was also studying with Erasmus in Grenoble at the same time but at a different university. Double the experience!

EMILIA FULLER

  The University of Nottingham, studying Philosophy

  Host Institution—Humboldt University Berlin, Germany

  Emilia took a last-minute and spontaneous decision to enrol at the Humboldt University in Berlin with Erasmus, a decision which fortunately had positive outcomes. The thrill of her first encounter with the city and being able to understand the language, despite having only A-level German, remains with her. Her language improved and she found that, one day, it all fell into place—making notes in German in her Philosophy lectures came naturally. The city made an impact on her and its struggle to change and to come to terms with its new identity paralleled her own development and the scope for self reinvention offered her by her Erasmus study period.

MICHAEL JOHN-HOPKINS

  University of Wales Aberystwyth, studying Law

  Host Institution—University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

  Michael "pestered" his Erasmus coordinator to go to Utrecht with Erasmus, and was not disappointed with the heterogeneous learning environment in Amsterdam, where he was studying alongside people from around twenty-five different countries. It was also where he met his French girlfriend, in a labour law lecture. He compares the Dutch language to Marmite—you either love it or hate it. Michael was in the former category and immersed himself in the language, forming many Dutch friends including musicians with whom he played the saxophone. Michael feels that Erasmus helped widen his horizons and wonders why the UK turnout for a programme which establishes a framework for understanding and tolerance is so low. Part of him wants to convey the benefits of the programme to others; yet the other part thinks, to borrow from an Italian proverb, "Don't tell the farmers how well pears go with cheese."

WILLIAM GOWDY

  University of Oxford, studying Law

  Host Institution—Universiteit Leiden, The Netherlands

  Although William does not believe that the Dutch approach to Law Studies improved his academic skills, he still feels that the experience of studying at a continental university will aid his general understanding of international law. William noted many similarities between the Dutch people and the people at home in Northern Ireland—he felt at home in the company of his Dutch friends and made an effort to integrate into Dutch student life including joining a student society and water polo club, rather than remain in an `international ghetto'. He believes that the key to a successful Erasmus placement is to go with an open mind and enjoy the experience, whatever it turns out to be. "Every Erasmus experience will be different."

TEACHER MOBILITY

Teacher Mobility 2002-03:

    —  A teacher from the University of Bradford visited Tomas Bata University in the Czech Republic in the subject area of Civil Engineering to teach postgraduate students and doctoral research staff in the area of Environmental Noise Control.

    —  A teacher from the University of Southampton went to the Technical University, Warsaw in Poland and gave seminars to final year MEng students and helped to co-ordinate the teaching of advanced CAD techniques with the latest research developments.

    —  A teacher from Oxford Brookes University visited the Technical University, Sofia in Bulgaria to lecture on WebCT and the adaptation of this teaching tool to all modules taught within the electronics department.

INFORMATION ABOUT ERASMUS

Levels of UK underspend in each programme

  2001-02

  Student Mobility—Euro 330,262 (2.6 per cent)

Teacher Mobility -Euro 134,283 (12.6 per cent)

  2002-02

  Student Mobility— Euro 213,564 (1.6 per cent)

Teacher Mobility— Euro 187,408 (17.7 per cent)

  2003-04

  Please note these are provisional figures from the final reports and may change very slightly between now and the final report to the Commission in May 2005.

  Student Mobility—Euro 355,984 (2.7 per cent)

  Teacher Mobility—Euro 187,490 (19.2 per cent)

  Organisation of Mobility Euro 112,825 (8.4 per cent)

  Figures on participation in current programmes by people in disadvantaged groups—please see further information below on additional grants to people with severe disabilities or exceptional special needs. UKSEC is currently involved in a data-matching exercise with HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) which will mean that in future there will be more refined information on the socio-economic background of participants.

  Business involvement in UK compared with other MSs—anecdotal evidence suggests that other Member States have very little business involvement, and therefore the UK, which has the CBI on the UK Socrates-Erasmus Council and attends the CBI AGM, would appear to have greater business involvement compared with other Member States. However, we are keen to develop further links with business in the UK.

STUDENTS AND TEACHERS WITH SEVERE DISABILITY OR EXCEPTIONAL SPECIAL NEEDS

  Students

  2003-04

  Three students, 23 months, 9,727 euros

  2002-03

  Nine students, 52.5 months, 25,267.47 euros

  2001-02

  Five students, 40 months, 12,646.65 euros

  Teachers

  2003-04

  Zero

  2001-02

  Zero

  2000-01

  One teacher, three days, 939 euros

LEONARDO CASE STUDIES

1.  Mobility projects accredited and integral to existing courses

  Park Lane College in collaboration with Open Colleges Network:

    —    Developed modules validating and accrediting transnational activity for placement beneficiaries and trainer exchange beneficiaries.

    —    Support personal and professional development plans.

  Loughborough College:

    —    Nine trainee electricians undertook three-week placements in Sweden.

    —    Received work-based training and gathered evidence for their NVQs, adding value to, but not interrupting their UK training.

  The Smallpeice Trust:

    —      29 trainees undertook three months academic study at Plymouth University, one month's language training in France, Germany or Spain and a 13 week work placement in a European engineering company.

    —    All aspects of the course accredited.

    —    Course recognised Royal Academy of Engineering, The Engineering Marine Training Authority and the Institute of Engineering Design.

2.  Mobility to further equal opportunities

  The Smallpeice Trust:

    —    Rigorous recruitment and selection and excellent student support led to above average female participation (28 per cent) in male-dominated environment of engineering.

3.  Updating skills or retraining those in employment

  The Forestry Contracting Association:

    —    50 professionals from UK forestry industry on one week exchanges to Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, France and Spain.

    —    Updating practical skills eg havesting and business development and also innovative methods of increasing participation in the sector.

    —    UK participants adopted Swedish and Finnish business development systems and GPS software to improve training delivery and business operations.

    —    National Forestry Commission produced a five-year action plan to develop a new forest-based economy for the National Forest, following the visit.

  Grampus Heritage and Training:

    —    22 trainers from UK heritage sector undertook one to two week exchanges in nine Eastern European countries.

    —    Slovakia—training opportunities for women in the rural economy, incorporating traditional crafts into vocational training systems.

    —    Czech Republic—traditional land skills including use of horses.

    —    Bulgaria—relationship between training, tourism and cultural tradition.

    —    Hungary—sustainability as impetus for using traditional skills/methods.

4.  Addressing skills gaps in collaboration with future employers

  Arts Institute Bournemouth:

    —    Competition fierce for careers in animation.

    —    Participants undertook work placements at leading animation studios in Budapest and Prague.

    —    Improved technical, production and time management skills.

    —    Closer ties between industry and academia.

5.  Synergy between different strands of the programme

  North Radstock College:

    —    Trainer exchange built on ongoing pilot project operated by Spanish partner.

    —    Pilot project aimed to develop a common business studies syllabus.

    —    Mobility project allowed UK to visit Spanish partner to obtain greater understanding of curriculum and materials to aid production of joint programme.

6.  Targeting Language Trainers

  Dudley College of Technology:

    —    Exchanged best practice in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL).

    —    Prompted by number of overseas students enrolled on English courses at Dudley College.

    —    Language learning integrated into vocational training, following Hungarian model.

7.  Targeting ICT

  Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education:

    —    ICT integral not incidental aspect of project.

    —    Innovative use of Virtual Learning Environment to support all activities from pre-departure planning to exchange of course materials and assignments.

8.  Complementing national and European initiatives

  Stevenson College:

    —    Eight staff members involved in curriculum development and planning visited Italy.

    —    Aim to widen access to vocational training in line with Scottish Executive, UK and EU priorities.

    —    Investigated how to manage and deliver vocational courses under ESF objective 3, ESF Equal programme and New Deal strategies.

  ECTARC—European Centre for Regional and Traditional Cultures:

    —    In conjunction with Employment Service targets young unemployed people enrolled on the New Deal.

    —    Close collaboration results in placements being specifically targeted to individuals' needs.

    —    Participants use transnational placements to gather evidence for key skills units.

    —    European experience a vital part of the "enrichment" requirement.

CASE STUDIES FOR LEONARDO DA VINCI

  There is a growing body of evidence that the mobility strand of the current Leonardo programme is being used effectively to complement both EU and national priorities in the areas of skills, language competencies and innovation. Leonardo mobility projects have contributed to Lisbon Council goals of improving mobility amongst young people, trainers and others in the further and higher education sectors; promoting the use of ICT; targeting sectors in need of development and developing cross EU courses and qualifications. One of the key concerns of the European Commission in respect of mobility placements is that these should be accredited and integral to existing courses wherever possible to add value to the experience. Some promoters have used additional qualifications to accredit and validate placements/exchanges. For example, Park Lane College which, through the Open Colleges Network (OCN) has developed modules for validating and accrediting transnational activity. The College has designed two modules, one for placement beneficiaries and one for trainer exchange beneficiaries. The modules have been integrated into the placements/exchanges and are used to accredit the skills acquired and developed whilst abroad and to support personal and professional development plans.

  Similarly, the "LoughSpark" project organised by Loughborough College enabled nine trainee electricians to expand their experience, key skills and cultural awareness by undertaking three-week work placements in Sweden. The duration provided participating trainees on the UK Modern Apprenticeship programme the opportunity to receive work-based training and gather evidence towards their NVQ qualification, adding value to, but not interrupting the UK training programme. This was in keeping with the beneficiaries' existing training programme which operates "blocks of learning" scheduled within longer term in-company training, rather than a day-release model as used in many training institutions. Participants were therefore familiar with the three-week placement duration. Furthermore, the fact that the Swedish hosts spoke good English enabled the beneficiaries to settle in quickly and gain a good understanding of electrical installation in Sweden in a relatively short period of time.

  An example of somewhat unconventional accreditation is the project organised by The Smallpeice Trust which is based on an Engineering Careers Foundation Year. This project enabled 29 trainees to undertake three months academic study at Plymouth University, one month's language training in either France, Germany or Spain followed by 13 weeks work placement with a European engineering company. The placement was assessed as part of the Engineering Careers Foundation Year. The period spent at Plymouth University was awarded 30 CATS points at degree level 1. The language aspect was certificated by the language school, additionally The Smallpeice Trust provided certificates detailing the work undertaken whilst on placement. All of the participants were enrolled to complete a City & Guilds in AutoCAD. Finally the course has been recognised by the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Engineering Marine Training Authority and the Institute of Engineering Design.

  But The Smallpiece Trust was also concerned to use the mobility measure to further equal opportunities and, in particular, to encourage women in non-traditional occupations. The UK National Agency has actively promoted the participation of candidates in non-traditional occupations and has encouraged promoters to develop meaningful equal opportunities strategies in informing and selecting beneficiaries. In the project mentioned above, women were encouraged to participate in placements in prestigious engineering firms in several European destinations. In the UK, women have traditionally been hugely underrepresented in the engineering sector. Through rigorous recruitment and selection procedures, and excellent student support, The Smallpeice Trust achieved above average female participation (eight out of 29, or 28 per cent) in their programme. Placements were offered in a range of engineering professions, including mechanical, electrical and civil engineering.

  The mobility measure has also been used effectively by a number of promoters to update the skills (and in some cases retrain) of people already in employment. The Forestry Contracting Association sent 50 professionals from the UK forestry industry to Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, France and Spain on week long exchanges. The objectives were to update their experience and practical skills in areas such as forest harvesting, processing, transporting, business development and marketing, and to look at innovative methods of increasing participation within the UK forestry training sector. The project was a complete success with much transfer of information taking place. For example, following visits to Sweden and Finland, the UK participants adopted business development systems and haulage GPS software packages to improve their training delivery and business operations. The project was also well received by the participants, as one participant from the UK's National Forest Company (NFC) commented following his visit to Denmark: "As a result of the tour the NFC will produce an action plan for the development of a new forest-based economy for the National Forest over the next five years . . . It is expected that this report will recommend that wood fuel is actively encouraged within the National Forest. It is unlikely that, without the Danish tour, this recommendation could have been substantiated."

  Grampus Heritage and Training sent 22 trainers from the UK heritage sector to nine countries including Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia on one or two week exchanges. The aim was to furnish beneficiaries with improved skills in crafts such as ceramics and weaving, or techniques for natural heritage management and tourism. It can be noted that, in general, Eastern Europe has a strong cultural heritage and agriculture sector that is of interest to providers of training in the heritage and the land-based industries. The placements in Slovakia allowed trainers from the Rural Women's Network, an organisation that promotes training opportunities for women in the rural environment, to gain insight into how traditional craft techniques are given contemporary relevance by incorporating them into vocational training systems. In the Czech Republic beneficiaries gained exposure to training methods of more traditional land skills, including the use of horses for working and leisure—a practice that is, apparently, increasing in the UK. The exchange in Bulgaria focused on the relationship between training, tourism and cultural tradition, including a review of the training provided by local museums and craft centres. Lastly, the participants in the Hungarian exchange explored traditional skills in the training sector, with emphasis placed on sustainability. All of this experience would have been difficult for the beneficiaries to obtain in the UK.

  These case studies also demonstrate the range of different sectors represented under the programme. Another such project was organised by Thompson Snell and Passmore which sought to send two trainee solicitors to work at a French law firm for 13 weeks. The promoter was an SME practising in law—it was both a new organisation and a new sector for Leonardo mobility in the UK. Although only one participant completed the project, the benefits were positive, with the beneficiary improving their knowledge of the French legal system and their language skills, and the promoting organisation forming strong alliances with law firms in France.

  An example of a project which targeted the needs of a particular sector and aimed to address skills gaps identified in collaboration with future employers, is the three months placement project for trainee animators organised by the Arts Institute at Bournemouth. The participants were students working towards a BA in Film and Animation at the Arts Institute at Bournemouth. Careers in animation are fraught with employability problems, and competition is fierce. Graduates stand a greater chance of success in the labour market if their academic training is supplemented by work experience. Given that the industry is international in scope, experience of working overseas will further enhance career prospects, and will give the participants an understanding of the European aspects of their work and study. The Institute itself was also seeking to improve the vocational relevance of its teaching, and to strengthen the European dimension of their activities. Participants undertook work-placements at leading animation studios in Budapest and Prague. The participants benefited from improved technical, production and time-management skills, and also increased their cultural awareness. The host companies gained a unique opportunity to develop and encourage up-and-coming young talent within their industry, and enabled closer ties between industry and academia to be fostered.

  There is also evidence of synergy between the different strands of the current Leonardo programme. The most obvious possibility for spin offs is between the pilot and mobility measures and one example is Norton Radstock College which organised a trainer exchange designed to build upon an ongoing pilot project operated by the college's Spanish partner. The aim was to develop a common business studies syllabus. The mobility project integrated with the pilot project by allowing staff from the UK to visit the Spanish partner to gain greater understanding of the taught curriculum and technologies available, which would enable easier production of joint teaching products and materials. As part of the pilot project, the products developed could then be effectively trialled, and eventually incorporated into the common business syllabus.

  Although there have been no mobility projects directly linked to proposals submitted under the language competences measure, there have been several projects which specifically target language trainers. Dudley College of Technology sent two trainers to meet professional colleagues from a partner institution in Hungary to exchange best practice in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), and to observe TESOL in Hungary with a view to familiarising UK staff with the training needs of foreign learners. The project was formulated against a background of increasing numbers of overseas students enrolled on English courses at Dudley College. The trainers studied ways in which language learning is integrated into vocational training in Hungary as a means of improving the employability of the workforce. The outcomes of this project are to be integrated into the TESOL curriculum at Dudley College.

  A small number of mobility projects expanded and reinforced activity under complementary European initiatives. Stevenson College sent eight members of staff involved in curriculum development and planning to Italy with the aim of widening access to vocational training in line with Scottish Executive, UK and EU priorities. The participants investigated alternative ways of management and delivery of vocational training courses identified under ESF objective 3, ESF Equal programme and New Deal strategies aimed at disadvantaged target groups. Subject areas included business studies, language teaching, arts and media, technology and care, and incorporated elements such as delivering training through working in partnerships with private and public bodies, promoting social inclusion, and integrating the use of communications technology into the curriculum.

  In developing criteria for supporting Leonardo mobility projects, the UK National Agency has focused from the outset on effective use of information and communications technology. In many cases this has been incidental to the main aim of the project itself—for example as a means of disseminating information on a project—but some projects have taken ICT as a key element of the learning objectives of a project. Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education placed strong emphasis on the use of information and communication technology in their placement project for 20 students on business related vocational courses. A developing economy in Northern Ireland demands an increasingly self-confident and technologically accomplished workforce. The placements took place in Spain and France with the aim of improving skills in business administration, languages, and ICT. One innovative aspect of this project was the use of a Virtual Learning Environment to support all activities from pre-departure planning to exchange of course materials and assignments. Participants were able to access this e-learning link from the Belfast Institute's webpage, and it formed a vital part of their training programme. Staff and students alike were delighted with the success of this learning facility.

  Similarly, the UK National Agency has shared the European Commission's concern that participation in a Leonardo mobility project should contribute to the individual's long term employability and this is the main objective identified in most successful applications. There have been some notable examples of complementarity with national strategies, one such being ECTARC, the European Centre for Regional and Traditional Cultures which has worked for many years with the UK Employment Service to target young unemployed people enrolled in the Government's New Deal programme. New Deal offers a structured approach to developing the skills and experience needed by jobseekers to secure employment. Collaboration between the promoter and New Deal advisers meant that beneficiaries' placements could be tailor-made to meet individual requirements. In addition to working closely with the UK Employment Services, ECTARC is also one of only a handful of UK promoters which recruits participants nationally. Many trainees enrolled on initial vocational training courses used their transnational placements to gather evidence towards these key skills units. Moreover, European experience has been viewed as vital to fulfilling the new "enrichment"' requirement.



 
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